Job guarantees and free money: 'Utopian' ideas tested in Europe as pandemic gives governments a new role

CNN

Christine Jardine, a Scottish politician who represents Edinburgh in the UK parliament, was not a fan of universal basic income before the pandemic hit.

"It was regarded in some quarters as a kind of socialist idea," said Jardine, a member of the centrist Liberal Democrats party.
But not long after the government shut schools, shops, restaurants and pubs in March with little warning, she started to reconsider her position.
"Covid-19 has been [a] game changer," Jardine said. "It has meant that we've seen the suggestion of a universal basic income in a completely different light." In her view, the idea — sending cash regularly to all residents, no strings attached — now looks more "pragmatic" than outlandish.
Read more

Benefits: Should Stormont give money to everyone in Northern Ireland?

Universal basic income (UBI) has been proposed as a potential way of future-proofing for any society-wide event.

It is something that has operated in other countries, but has not yet been seen in the UK.

So could UBI be one solution to huge levels of economic uncertainty, as seen during the coronavirus lockdown?

What is UBI?

Universal basic income is a flat rate payment that is paid on a regular basis to every individual in society, regardless of their employment status.

Read more

Universal basic income: An option for Europe?

DW.com

What if people no longer had to worry about their income? Marwa Fatafta has often asked herself that question. "So much anxiety and stress would simply vanish," said Fatafta, who came to Germany as a Palestinian migrant and made a life for herself in Berlin.

"To me, it was clear quite early on that freedom also means being financially independent," Fatafta told DW. At first, she had hoped to live from her art, but when she realized it would not give her a regular income she gave up that dream. Today, Fatafta works for Access Now, an organization that promotes digital personal rights.

Fatafta is one of about 2 million people in Germany who has applied to the Basic Income Pilot Project. Starting next spring, 122 of the applicants will receive €1,200 ($1,422) per month for three years. No strings attached.

Read more

Taskforce in Ireland recommends basic income scheme for artists

RTE

A universal income scheme for artists has been recommended by the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, which published its report today.

The taskforce was set up in September to prepare recommendations on how the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among its recommendations are a pilot universal basic income scheme for a three-year period in the arts, culture, audiovisual and live performance and events sectors.

Read more

The time has never been better for universal basic income

Alberni Valley News

The provincial election is over and it is now time to look ahead to how this strong NDP majority can truly do the most good for all British Columbians no matter their station or political persuasion.

How do they, and all levels of government, deal with the pandemic, housing, opioid and climate crisis, and a contorted and weak economy and labour market?

We need to pull together. We need a Guaranteed Liveable Universal Basic Income. 

Read more

Canadian Chamber of Commerce urges federal government to pick up Ontario’s cancelled pilot project

The Star

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to create its own basic income pilot project to replace the one that was prematurely cancelled by Doug Ford’s provincial government in 2018.

The national chamber adopted the resolution, which was put forward by the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, at its annual general meeting this week.

It calls on the federal government to create a basic income pilot project and “assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program.”

Read more

Canada’s K-shaped recovery is deepening the lines between rich and poor. Here’s how we can shift our economy toward a fair outcome for all

The Star

As a famous group of puppets on Sesame Street would say, “Today’s letter of the day is ‘K.’ ”

But what if a “k” is not what we want?

This is the situation the Canadian economy finds itself in: current economic data shows that the pre-pandemic well-off are benefiting while the pre-pandemic marginalized are suffering considerably.

For example, white-collar workers are benefiting from work-from-home’s favourable commute times, low interest rates to upsize their living space, and soaring financial assets in their portfolios.

Read more